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Hollande in Mexico to mend strained relations

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-10

French President François Hollande arrived in Mexico on Wednesday for a two-day state visit during which he will sign a string of business deals in a move to patch up relations that had been strained over the case of Frenchwoman Florence Cassez.

Hollande’s agenda includes talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto, a visit to pre-Hispanic pyramids as well as a tour of French aviation industry factories.

According to Mexican officials, the two countries are expected to sign around 30 agreements during the visit, within industries ranging from aerospace to energy, security and education.

"It is a very important visit. It is a great reunion between Mexico and France," Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Carlos de Icaza told reporters on Tuesday.

French officials say a key part of the trip will be to turn the page for good on tensions caused by the arrest of Florence Cassez in 2005, when different governments were in power in both nations.

Cassez was sentenced to 60 years in prison over her alleged involvement with a gang of kidnappers that was led by her ex-boyfriend.

French-Mexican relations reached a low in February 2011, when Mexican authorities pulled out of a "Year of Mexico" cultural event in France after then-president Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to dedicate it to Cassez, angering his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon.

After seven years behind bars, Cassez was released and returned to France in January 2013 when the Supreme Court ruled that police had violated her rights by broadcasting her arrest on national television.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-04-10

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